By Ray O’Hanlon
Application details for the next round of Schumer Visas have been released by the U.S. State Department.
The mail-in period for the Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2001) will run from noon on Monday, Oct. 4, 1999, through noon on Wednesday, Nov 3.
Fifty-five thousand visas will be distributed under the program to successful applicants from eligible countries. Individuals born in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply.
There are no special application forms for the visa lottery scheme devised by then Congressman, now Senator, Charles Schumer but applicants must follow a number of guidelines stipulated by the State Department.
Assistance in filing proper applications can be obtained from Irish immigration advice centers in various U.S. cities.
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Fuller details will be published in the Echo in the coming weeks.
Hibs help ship
The Ancient Order of Hibernians has donated $10,000 to help in the building of the Jeanie Johnston, the replica of a famine-era sailing ship of the same name currently under construction near Tralee in Co. Kerry.
The "kick-off" monetary gift to the project was announced recently by AOH National President Thomas Gilligan and AOH Great Hunger Commemoration Chairman Raymond Meehan.
"We see this ship as a symbol of the lives of so many Irish forced by starvation from their homeland and hope it will remind Americans of the sacrifices of their forebears," Gilligan said.
Meehan said that the Jeanie Johnston was a symbol of the hope for an Ireland at peace and its voyage to the U.S. next year would be symbolic of the rich legacy shared by the U.S. and Ireland.
"The National Board hopes this gift will stimulate the interest and the generosity of others in the Jeanie Johnston. Hibernians around the country in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have already contributed to this project," Meehan said.
Eyes on the RUC
Legislation aimed at curbing U.S. assistance for the RUC needs to be inserted in a U.S. Senate version of the current State Department spending bill, the Irish National Caucus has stated.
In July, the U.S. house of Representatives passed the State Department Authorization Bill, H.R. 2415. The bill contains a provision, authored by GOP Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, that cuts off all funding for U.S. training and exchange programs with the RUC. The measure, if fully enacted, would likely particularly affect RUC training held in conjunction with the FBI.
The Senate version of the authorization bill does not contain a provision identical or similar to Smith’s and INC President Fr. Sean McManus said his organization was working to ensure that what it describes as "the anti-RUC provision" is included in the reconciled House/Senate bill that will go to President Clinton for signing.
McManus told the Echo that with the Patten Commission report likely to be released in the next few weeks it was vital to have the RUC measure included in the U.S. bill.
"Even if the language of the Patten report is good there is no guarantee that its recommendations will be implemented," McManus said.
"And even if the British government indicates its willingness to implement meaningful changes in policing in Northern Ireland, it might take several years for such measures to take effect. So we still need this provision in the State Department bill."
Investigate Adams assault
New York-based Human Rights Watch has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland asking him to explain publicly the recent decision not to prosecute RUC police officers who stand accused of assaulting David Adams, a cousin of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, in February, 1994.
The letter, to Northern Ireland DPP Alisdair Fraser, refers to a 1998 judgement in a successful civil case taken by Adams against the officers which points to evidence supporting Adams’s claim that he was assaulted.
The court in the civil case had concluded that the RUC officers had been "untruthful" in their testimony, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
"Despite the court’s finding that RUC officers inflicted severe injuries on David Adams, and lied about it under oath, these officers will now enjoy impunity for that amounts to torture," said Julia Hall of HRW.
The letter to Fraser urges him to make public the criminal investigation report submitted by the Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde, James Orr, and the opinion of a senior barrister solicited by the DPP which reportedly supports the decision not to prosecute.
Hayden to Mitchell: Remember jobs
California State Senator Tom Hayden has written to U.S. peace negotiator George Mitchell urging that the U.S. government give increased attention to what Hayden terms "the growing inequality and unemployment gap in Northern Ireland."
In his letter to Mitchell, Hayden calls the gap "a non-military threat to the fulfillment of the Good Friday Agreement" which is being ignored because of a preoccupation with decommissioning.
Hayden contends that U.S. firms in Northern Ireland are employing fewer Catholics than before the paramilitary cease-fires. He believes that unemployment inequality is growing overall despite the Good Friday agreement.
Various studies in recent years have shown that Catholics in Northern Ireland are more than twice as likely to be unemployed long-term than Protestants.